Black Politics: How Anger Influences the Political Actions Blacks Pursue to Reduce Racial Inequality

Antoine J. Banks, Ismail K. White, Brian D. McKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Although Blacks are homogeneous in their support for racial equality, research shows that they are conflicted about the political strategies their group should adopt to advance its interest. At times, Blacks rely on racial group specific behaviors (e.g., working on behalf of Black organizations) to alleviate racial inequality, while at other instances they depend on non-racial group specific behaviors (e.g., working on behalf of the Democratic Party). What is unclear from the literature are the conditions under which Blacks engage in behaviors that specifically help their racial group over actions that are more universalistic in nature. We argue that experiencing anger about race should boost Blacks’ participation in donating to indigenous Black organizations and protesting rather than giving to universalistic organizations and voting. To test our expectations, we utilize a lab experiment and a national survey experiment. The findings show that feeling angry about race increases Blacks’ willingness to donate to Black organizations and protest. We also find that angry Blacks, highly supportive of Black community nationalism, are the strongest participants in these types of actions. Meanwhile, Blacks who feel angry about race are not more engaging in non-racial group specific acts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)917-943
Number of pages27
JournalPolitical Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Black politics
  • Emotions
  • Political participation


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